When courts deliberate on child custody arrangements, they take into account the specific circumstances of every case. Their main goal is to ensure that the arrangement upholds the best interests of the child. In some cases, however, the court would likewise take into account the wishes of the child.
Weight of the Child’s Wishes
For courts to consider the wishes of the child, the child should mature enough to express and formulate his or her opinion and specific requests regarding custody. The extent to which the court would take into consideration these wishes would be determined by the particular circumstances of the child custody case.
What you, as a parent, need to remember is that the court would always prioritize your child’s best interests. For instance, the judge might disregard a child’s wish to stay with a parent who is a habitual drunk or substance abuser.
When Abuse Comes into Play
Conversely, a child might not want to stay with an abusive parent, particularly if the child was the victim or if he or she has witnessed the abuse at home. Also, the wishes of the child might influence the court’s decision if he or she has a preference to live with a parent with whom the child’s other siblings live with.
Do note however that some states have laws about the wishes of children when determining custody arrangements. You can get help from an experienced family law attorney in Denver, CO such as Miller & Steiert, P.C.
Plenty of states follow the rule that allows a child to decide which parent he or she wants to live with upon reaching a certain age. If the state hasn’t established such a law, courts will take into account the child’s wishes at their discretion.
Seeking Legal Help
As mentioned above, the court would consider many different factors when determining child custody orders. In some cases, the court would follow the child’s wishes, but not in others.
That said, it’s in your child’s best interest, and yours, to work with an experienced family lawyer when you present your case to make certain that the court’s final custody arrangement would champion the rights of your child.